In a rare show of unity, Government and opposition Political Parties under the Inter-Party Organization for Dialogue (IPOD) have agreed to fast track the implementation of Public Order Management Act (POMA) regulations.
These assurances were made following a hasty meeting between political parties led by IPOD Council Chairman Nandala Mafabi and Prime Minister Ruhakana Rugunda held in Kampala on Tuesday.
Addressing journalists from the Office of Prime Minister, Rugunda hailed the meeting which he said had made headways as far as implementation of POMA regulations is concerned.
While these regulations were still being scrutinized by the National Security Committee (NSC), he said both parties had agreed to have them tabled in Parliament before the political campaign commences.
This, he said was arrived at after political parties heads all complained about finding it tough to mobilize.
“The main issues that came out in this meeting was the challenges different political parties sometimes including NRM have been facing in having smooth well organized meetings,” Rugunda intimated.
Chimp Reports also learnt that when it came to the issue of the Constitutional Courts ruling on Electoral reforms, he informed them that government had played its part in tabling five electoral reform bills.
However, while the Presidential Elections Amendment Bill and the Parliamentary Elections Amendment Bills of 2019 were recently passed among many others, discussions are ongoing on other areas.
There was also an agreement on the need to extend more funding towards Political Parties with Parliamentary Representation, although the agreed figures were not divulged to the press.
At last year’s summit which was held in Entebbe at Protea Hotel, all party heads with the exception of FDC agreed to elevate party funding by 25 billion shillings from the ten billion shillings they were receiving.
“Government shall increase funding to the Political parties and IPOD from the current UGX10bn to UGX35bn to a tune of UGX35bn Uganda shillings in the financial year 2019/2020,” an IPOD communiqué read.
Prime Minister assured those present that the NRM was bent on ensuring that a democracy prevails saying this is the primary reason why the 1980-86 bush war was waged.
On his part, Forum for Democratic Change (FDC) Secretary General Nandala Mafabi said that they had learnt from the Premier that most policemen are overzealous in the way they disperse their meetings.
He revealed that they had informed the Premier about plans to traverse the country to promote harmonious politics.
“We shall be on radios, TVs and meet people in these regions. And we are saying the first meeting we will go with the PM to confirm what we have said,” Mafabi pointed out.
Today’s deliberations come on the back drop of last week’s meeting at IPODs headquarters in Ntinda where Mafabi warned that if POMA regulations were not quickly ‘passed the country would be thrown in disarray’.
With the Premier not certain on when the POMA regulations shall be tabled before the house, it remains to be seen whether the enabling regulations that have stalled since May 2019 shall be taken serious this time.
In the proposed regulations, parties want each district to have a special police officer charged with enforcing POMA to curtail on express powers that solely lie with the inspector General of Police (IGP).
In instances where the Police finds it not conducive to hold a meeting at a specific venue, political parties want the inspector general of police or any authorized officer to notify the organizer in writing explaining why.
Today’s meeting was attended by Finance Minister Matia Kasaija, Solicitor General (SG) Christopher Gashirabake who represented the Attorney General and all Secretary General’s of the five parties with parliamentary representation.